Current lectures at Åbo Akademi University
This course will address most current ecological questions in marine ecology. Topics will vary between years, but most likely link investigations on species interactions with climate change related research questions. We will combine field observations with aquarium to mesocosm experiments and modern laboratory analyses. This will be a hands-on practical course, supported by short lectures and short student presentations. A prior literature review will form the basis of successful participation.
The participants will elaborate on a specific research topic (to be dedicated each year) and will plan, conduct and evaluate an ecological experiment, run for two weeks, at the Husö Biological Station at the Åland Islands, Finland (in September 2020, 2022) and at either the GEOMAR facilities in Kiel, Western Baltic Sea, Germany or the Wadden Sea Station on Sylt, Wadden Sea, Germany (in September 2021, 2023).
Specific content (also dependent of the focus of the annual project):
– Planning ecological experiments with focus on appropriate experimental designs
– Handling of marine species, from macrophytes and their associated invertebrate grazers to filter feeders and their predators
– Setting up experiments in aquarium containers to smaller mesocosm facilities
– Common laboratory procedures and specific eco-physiological, chemical-ecological or molecular biological methodology
– Using bioassays to answer ecological questions
Statistics, 5 ECTS
The aim is to give all participants the knowledge needed to plan their future experimental research independently, with a critical view on the potential flaws in experimental designs. The course will provide an overview of the most commonly applied statistical procedures and give the participants the skills to perform basic to more advanced statistical analyses, and to interpret and visualise their outcome. The curse will also emphasize how different statistical procedures and models are chosen, depending on structure and distribution of datasets. We will also briefly discuss some more advanced themes, such as GAM, mixed effects models, PERMANOVA, time series and multivariate statistics.
– Repetition of the principles of experimental design, hypotheses testing and statistical inference
– Linear models and design matrix (regression, t-test and ANOVA)
– Generalized Linear Models (GLM)
– Overview of existing other statistical procedures such as GAM, mixed effects models, PERMANOVA, time series, and multivariate statistics
– Introduction to data visualisation
Solving Wicked Problems of the Future Ocean, 5 ECTS
The aim of the course is to introduce the students to ocean-related wicked problems and to discuss solutions that enable coexistence between marine and maritime life and the modern society that promotes sustainability. A ‘wicked problem’ is a challenging and urgent problem with numerous causes and effects, for instance, climate change, or eutrophication of water bodies. Its solution involves a number of different stakeholders with divergent views, which makes these problems inherently difficult to solve. In this course, we will focus on what the marine wicked problems are and how they can be tackled in an interdisciplinary, science-based way, combining perspectives from marine ecology, maritime business, marine governance, and cultural studies.
Upon completing this course, the participant will be able to:
– Describe and exemplify what a marine wicked problem is,
– Explain basic socio-ecological and socio-technical aspects of marine wicked problems and solutions
– Integrate different approaches to address marine wicked problems and solutions
– Apply an interdisciplinary approach to analyse and understand wicked problems related to the sea and argue for its importance in solving the problems
– Relate sustainable development needs to marine wicked problems and solutions (especially SDG7, SDG8, SDG9, SDG11, SDG12, and SDG14).
Stress Ecology, 5 ECTS
Understanding the ecosystem responses to global change and predicting future ecosystem shifts, requires development of a robust understanding of the biological responses to the multitude of environmental local and global climate change drivers. Participants will acquire a profound knowledge on the concepts of stress ecology, and the associated research methodologies. The main focus of this course will be on the marine environment, while theory and historical examples might originate from terrestrial ecology or limnology. This course will integrate related disciplines such as Physiology, Molecular Biology/Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology.
In addition to common lectures, we will invite specialist researchers that present on their studies in the field and their specific views on stress ecology. We will also evaluate scientific papers addressing specific topics in stress ecology.
– Basic physiological responses of macrophytes, fish and marine invertebrates to environmental stress
– Concepts of reactions norms (e.g., thermal performance curves)
– Detailed insights into specific drivers (stressors) such as ocean warming, ocean acidification (decreased pH), hypoxia (lowered oxygen availability), changes in salinity caused by altered freshwater inputs, eutrophication, and species to ecosystem responses to these drivers
– The interplay of multiple divers, and their additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects on species to community responses
– The role of variability of divers or climatic extremes for species to ecosystem responses (periodic variability to extreme events)
– Physiological to behavioural strategies of stress avoidance and mechanisms of acclimation and adaptation to steady environmental stress and pulse-stress
Multi-Stressor workshop for international PhD students at the IAEA Environment Laboratories organized by the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC), in Monaco (teacher for one full week)
Masters course practicals: “MNF-bioc-202 Advanced Practical Course in Biological Oceanography – Practical Part A2 (Benthic Ecology)“, (Practical 500081) – 2SWS (3 ECTS)
Masters course lecture and seminar: “MNF-bioc-332 Current Topics in Marine Ecology II“ (Lecture 500067) – 3SWS (4.5 ECTS), (Seminar 500084) – 2SWS (3 ECTS)
Supervision of Poseidon research vessel cruise POS506 with 8 master students
Supervision of ALKOR research vessel cruise AL643 with 9 master students
“Scientist in Charge” at the ALDEBARAN research vessel within the German education and research program for students from secondary schools “Meereswettbewerb“ (2013)
Co-supervision of the bachelors module „Animal Physiology“ (practicals) at Rostock University
Several current topics lectures as part of the masters curriculum in Biological Oceanography at GEOMAR and Kiel University